Whipped Up: the uprise of the JZX

Posted in Cars, Opinion

It's fairly safe to say that in New Zealand we're used to drifting and modifying Nissans. For some reason, a lot of us skipped the bandwagon when it came to Toyotas, and we have only jumped on with the revival of the AE86 and the likes of KP/KE classics. A direct view into the Japanese drift scene has shown that, often, the scene's drift car of choice comes down to the JZX chassis, which is now slowly, but surely, becoming a Kiwi car staple.

The JZX chassis refers to the Toyota Chaser, Mark II, Cresta, and the Verossa. The ‘JZ’ makes up the engine code and the ‘X’ for the chassis. Prior to the JZX chassis we had the GX chassis that came with the 1G engine.

The difference between each car comes down to the model. For example, the one above is a JZX100 Chaser. All of the JZX100s share the same bodyline and are only notably different by the front and rear end. This changes in the JZX110s where the wagon, Mark II, and Verossa are all very different, yet still based on similar interior, engines, and sizes. 

The Verossa is viewed as a more rare-to-find JZX, with not many turbo examples making their way across the border to New Zealand. 

However with the years ticking over and the cars becoming available to import again, we're seeing a resurgence of the JZX chassis coming back. One can be picked up on Trade Me for a fair price, and modified to suit your needs very easily. They're not being thrashed like the Nissan equivalents, and the cars are holding their value well.

What's seen as a staple in the Japanese drift scene hasn't really been utilized as much in New Zealand. The Mark II has been seen in videos such as the Ebisu Minami jump and Ebisu missile,  being thrown in backwards.

One would have to thank JZX-master Daigo Saito for popularizing the chassis. With his famous JZX100 Mark II making the journey across to New Zealand for Red Bull Drift Shifters many moons ago, the car no doubt sparked many new ideas for young Kiwis wanting to start building a project.

Steven Sole's old JZX was probably one of the more original JZX chassis on the scene with its JZX90 rear and JZX100 front. Since then, we haven't seen many other JZXs modified — up until now. 

The cars are easily modified and look best with quality Japanese parts and fitments to go with them. Packing either a 1JZ-GTE or a 1JZ-GTE VVT-i, you've got enough power on tap from factory to get your front wheels locked up and your rear wheels smoking.

No doubt you'll see more intense features on some of these cars in the future, but until then, look out for a Tourer V, fit it with some AVS wheels, and hit the track. You'll have a hard time not wanting to drive it. 

Chris Smith

Coming from a background of Freshly Whipped car photography and blogging, I'm here to take you through my angle and perspective on cars and events. Keep an eye out for my Whipped Up series.